Day of Remembrance for the victims of the Holocaust , genocide and victims of fascism in the Second World War has been marked on April 22 in memory of concentration camp Jasenovac (Independent State of Croatia) prisoners breakthrough 1945.
His Holiness Serbian Patriarch Irinei , Metropolitan of Montenegro and the Littoral and Bishop Jovan of Lipljan served today Holy Liturgy in the restored church of St. Elias in the village Mlaka at Jasenovac on the occasion of the Day of breach of Jasenovac inmates – 22 April.
Liturgy was served as a memorial to all the innocent victims who were killed by Croatian (Catholic) Ustasha in Jasenovac death camp .
Addressing the faithful, Serbian Patriarch Irinei said that the church of St. Elias in Mlaka is lying on the martyred soul in which hundreds of thousands of martyrs were killed only because they were Serbs and Orthodox Christians .
The Orthodoxy was their only fault , and the villains are meant to wipe off the face of the earth all the Serbian Orthodox people ,” Patriarch Irinej says .
He added that it is difficult to explain what motivated the Croatian people to such a crime . ” That crime is gre a crater than thecrime of the devil”.
” They were killing men , women, and the most tragic is that they killed innocent children .
Diana Budisavljević saved more than 12,000 Serbian minors and children, but majority were handed over to Croatian families, where they were converted to Roman Catholicism and raised as Croats .
The Patriarch said that the soil in Jasenovac is “soaked with blood and filled with martyr’s bones”.
” I’m sure God has rewarded them as they refused to covert and abandon His name and religion . This church of St. Elias in Mlaka carries all the wounds of our people , innocent women and even innocent children who were killed because they were angels ,” said the Serbian Patriarch before about 200 worshipers.
His Holiness said that the suffering Serbian people in Jasenovac were exposed to by their Christian bethren is the best proof of how deep even a nation can fall .
” It wasn’t done by strangers, by unknown and alien, from another state or religion; the most horrible is the fact that the monstrous crimes were committed by Catholic Christians. I ‘m not going to condemn them , or curse , but we must not forget that . We have to leave Lord to judge them, because there is no law and justice but God’s ,” Serbian Patriarch explained.
Our Gologhota has to be remembered, said the Serbian Patriarch , we must not forget . “Тhis Church is important because the souls of victims rejoice the liturgy, the mention , and the temple. Great is the glory of the Lord , and he gave them eternal life ,” said the Patriarch Irinej.
From the beginning of existence of the Independent state of Croatia, Mlaka village served as collection center for women and children of Jasenovac camp. Hunger , heat, and infectious disease murdered more than 30 children daily. Also there are several places of mass execution on the spot.
All inhabitants of the village Mlaka were taken to death camp Jasenovac; Jasenovac was Croatian camp for mainly Serbian women and children from Kozara mount.
In this village , 12 kilometers from Jasenovac about 1 500 inhabitants(all Serbs) lived before World War II.
The entire population , including the 250 children , in the spring in 1942. was taken to Jasenovac by the Croatian Ustasha units. All were killed.
Today the village has population of 40 Serbian returnees . When Nazi Croatia was reestablished in 1990 -ies, the village was destroyed; even today, two and a half decades later, the road infrastructure is in very poor condition , and even the church of St. Elias is difficult to reach .
,, The wounds of Jasenovac will never be healed unless the kingdom of heaven , because the deeper wounds in Christian history is hard to find”.
Bishop Jovan attended the Holy Liturgy in restored church of St. Elias, served by His Holiness Serbian Patriarch Irinej. The bishop told reporters that in the history of the Church there has never been recorded such suffering in the name of Christ, and especially in such a number, as it happened in Jasenovac.
After the Allied bombing of the camp in March and April 1945, were many buildings inside the Death camp were destroyed, Vjekoslav ‘Maks’ Luburić , Croat, commander of the Ustasha Defense , ordered the liquidation of all detainees, and to burn down all of Jasenovac camp in order to remove all traces of the crime . The last group of 700 women died in the early evening on April 21.
During the night 21 /22. April the last male prisoners decided to attempt to break out of the camp . Of these 1200 only 107 survived. On the same day , a few hours later , the escape of prisoners from Tannery started; there was 176 of them, and only 11 of them survived.
Holocaust Memorial Day in Serbia
Central commemorative ceremony dedicated to the Day of Remembrance of the Victims of the Holocaust , genocide and other victims of fascism in the Second World War took place today at the site of another Nazi death camp, Staro Sajmiste in Belgrade, on the bank of the Sava river. The territory of occuped Serbia was divided, so the Independent state of Croatia as a proxy, was given whole of Bosnia and Herzegovina, part of Northern Serbia, Srem and parts of modern Belgrade, including Zemun. There were 40 000 persons killed in Staro Sajmište: 1 800 Roma /Gypsy, 3 -8000 Jews, 30 000 – 35 000 Orthodox Serbs.
Day of Remembrance for the victims of the Holocaust , genocide and other victims of fascism in the Second World War was marked with the presence of the victims’ families , representatives of several ministries and the diplomatic corps , laying wreaths at the monument to victims of the genocide that is located within the complex of the former Nazi death camp Staro Sajmiste ( ‘Old Fair’) . The ceremony was attended by representatives of the Federation of Jewish Communities of Serbia and the Council of the Roma.